New bill describes religious freedom in Missouri schools

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by Ray Preston / News 4 and Ruella Rouf / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Updated Thursday, May 29 at 10:19 PM

(KMOV.com) – A new bill regarding a student’s right to pray waits to be signed by Gov. Nixon.

The bill is called the Missouri Student Religious Liberties Act which is a guideline for school districts across the state, making it clear what students can and cannot do.

The bill says students would be able to participate in religious activities before, during, and after school hours. Students would be free to express religious beliefs in homework, artwork, clothing, and jewelry. The bill further goes to protect jewelry or accessories that promote satan or witchcraft as long as it is not disruptive.

"They can't say this one's good and this one's bad. So if you're going to allow things that are specifically Christian you're going to have to allow everything else as well as long as it's not disruptive,” said Philip Perrey of Christview Christian Church.

St. Charles Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Marion said the legislation would require small changes to the already existing rules in the district.

"Right now we don't have anything in there on how we select student speakers. This bill would require us to put something in policy saying we won't discriminate against a student speaker if they have in their speech religious expression,” Marion added.

The bill is said to protect freedom of religion as well as freedom from religion. Students would not be required to take part in any religious activities if they do not wish.

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